April 2006

Instead of worrying about $100 checks, proposedoil company windfall profit taxes, or George W. Bush… let’s just think for a minute. Why is oil $70 a barrel?

  • 30 April 2006: Iran claims nuclear project breakthrough. “Iran is developing an advanced centrifuge that would allow it to accelerate its controversial uranium enrichment programme, a senior official told state television yesterday. Mohammad Saidi, the vice-president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, made the claim a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had ignored a United Nations ultimatum to end enrichment work.”
  • 29 April 2006: Iran rejects demands to abandon enrichment. “Iran on Saturday refused to stop uranium enrichment after a U.N. report said it had done little or nothing to prove it was not developing nuclear arms.”
  • 27 April 2006: Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns US Against Attacking Iran.
  • 26 April 2006: Iran threatens to strike at US targets if attacked

Oh wait, I forgot. Diplomacy is working.

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On this Monday, May 1st, Chicago will see the second pro-Illegal Immigration “Rally” in downtown Chicago. For whatever reason, organizers (emboldened by a lack of enforcement of the current immigration laws) think that parading people through the city will bolster public support for illegal immigrants.

A couple interesting things in advance of the protest/rally/whatever:

Immigration is not distinguished from illegal immigration… and the effects that illegality has on the jobs that illegal immigrants can hold. (Activists say it’s no surprise Chicago immigration rally set tone for the nation):

Organizers here say they’re planning another march for May 1 to commemorate May Day, the international holiday honoring laborers. Though they’re are unsure how many people will turn out, they say the issue is too important to not try for another mass demonstration.

“I haven’t seen the spirits of the 1970s and 1960s until now,” Zavala said. “This is really surprising. People are marching in the thousands everywhere. It indicates how deeply the immigrant and Mexican community in the United States feel about the attacks on immigrants.”

This is indeed a curious choice. As Wikipedia describes “International Workers’ Day (a name used interchangably with May Day) is the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Illinois, and a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement…Due to these left-wing overtones, May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist, and anarchist groups.”

So what is this exactly? This is not about immigrants’ rights. Immigrants from Mexico are no different from those who came before them from Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere. The difference is the way that these particular immigrants have come – by breaking the law and expecting to be thanked for it.

What’s the tie between marging on Communist Workers Day and Illegal Immigants all about?

You have to follow the money. As long as we give a wink & nod to to illegal immigrants (call them guest workers or whatever you would like), you are by definition creating an underclass who does work for less than the prevailing wage. Forget that bull about doing jobs that others won’t do… what’s really meant is that because they are illegal, they will also work for less money than other workers. So how many are working for less than minimum wage? How exactly is this working to protect the exploitation of these workers?

Also, can someone please explain the tie to Labor Unions? (Labor group backs May 1 immigration rally)

“Immigrants’ rights are workers’ rights,” Dennis Gannon said at a rally at Randolph and Des Plaines. Gannon, head of the Chicago Federation of Labor, pledged support for pro-immigrant rallies planned for May 1, which is May Day — International Workers Day.

OK, I can see one angle… newly minted US citizens can all be a potential new source of labor union members, but other than that… how exactly is this promoting the rights of workers?

So maybe it’s not really about “workers’ rights. What else could it be about. In another interesting footnote (Organizers Prepare For Monday’s Immigration Rally)

Asked where participants recommend the line be drawn between no immigration at all and absolutely unrestricted immigration, Gaete Tapia said that has yet to be determined. He said the purpose of the immigration rally is to demonstrate solidarity and open a dialogue as equals, not subordinates over the shape of immigration legislation to come.

What? Yet to be determined? So is this about the HR bill or not? But if they are still trying to figure out exactly how ‘open’ they propose making the borders, how are immigration laws to be changed? Sure, no one can explain exactly how granting citizenship to this latest group of lawbreakers will stop more people from pouring over the border. Sure, no one can explain how having open borders actually protects us. But let’s not think about that for a moment.

In an interesting development, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago indicates that there should be Muslim support for the rally. (MUSLIMS MUST JOIN MONDAY MAY 1 IMMIGRATION RALLY!, 25 April 2006). To quote:

It is also about respect for all. Muslims, like Latinos, have faced undue mistreatment and abuse. “More than 500,000 Muslims have suffered since 9/11. It’s about time that we say no to fear and stand up for our rights and the rights of other people. We need to march on May 1,” said Mujahid. Currently, there are reports by Muslims and non-Muslims of years of backlog and delays to their obtaining citizenship, even when all of the rules have been obeyed, the paperwork completed and fees paid.

This sounds good and all, and the immigration paperwork nightmare is certain in need of fixing. But give me a break… people are not deported who in the proper process of obtaining citizenship due to processing delays. I’m not sure exactly who the half-million mistreated Muslims are, but the illegal aliens have not earned the “rights” for which they are standing up.

But leave the P.C. nonsense to the Chicago Police Department. Chicago Police Announce Public Safety Plans for Immigration Rights March):

Immigration rights marchers are expected to peacefully rally around the downtown area on Monday, exercising their First Amendment rights. Chicago Police and other city agencies said they were prepared for the crowds and would have enough police officers and resources available to ensure a safe and peaceful environment during the immigration rally.

First Amendment rights. I guess that only applies to the legal immigrants! Of course, it seems that there can be no references to The Minuteman Project without equating them to the KKK. It’s all about the first amendment, isn’t it? I hope that it is peaceful. But let’s not forget what this is about… it’s about celebrating illegal activity. And encouraging more.

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Why should they? When they can get all of the financial assistance courtesy of the USA?

From Mexicans in US leave towns half-empty but richer, 26 April 2006:

This sun-baked central Mexican town has lost almost all its farm jobs, seven out of ten local houses lie empty and the majority of the residents have quit town, but life here has never been better.

Far from feeling like a ghost town, Churintzio is enjoying perhaps the biggest economic boom in its history as massive emigration to a new life in the United States has brought a new prosperity to those who remain.

Cars and pickup trucks with U.S. registration plates line the streets, cherished family homes are getting a lick of paint, and shops and small businesses are doing a steady trade on a stream of greenbacks sent home to the town’s bank and currency exchange houses each month.

“Everything good that we have, we owe to them,” said widow Teresa Perez, 52, who has five of her 10 children working in San Francisco.

“As soon as they get established over there they find work and send home money for their families to live on — and it has transformed life here,” mayor Mario Cendejas said this week in the colonial town in the central state of Michoacan, about five hours drive west of Mexico City.

The rural town with its shady square and baroque church has seen its population plummet to just 3,000 people from highs of around 7,000 more than a decade ago as residents left en masse for the United States.

Most work on U.S. farms and construction sites, in hotels and restaurants, and they typically send $300-$500 a month back to their families here, allowing them to supplement an otherwise precarious existence.

The U.S. Congress is locked in negotiations on immigration reform with rival proposals that range from embracing illegal workers or criminalizing them and building a wall along much of the Mexico border to keep others out.

Congress’ final decision could determine the future of some 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States as well as hundreds of towns like Churintzio and the broader health of the Mexican economy.

Mexicans in the United States sent more than $20 billion home to their families last year, making remittances the country’s second most important source of foreign currency after oil exports.

“We depend almost 100 percent on what our families send us,” said Nubia Rodriguez as she tended shop at the California Dolares exchange house. “We are really hoping they reach a deal.”


Michoacan is one of the states most affected by the tide of emigration. Many of its towns are almost empty and in some there are so few men left that women face serious problems in finding partners.

The upside is that the state received a cash injection of $2.6 billion from remittances last year, equivalent to $650 for every man, woman and child still living there.

Standing behind the counter of his general store selling everything from soft drinks to plumbing supplies, long time resident Luis Alfaro is certain the cash from migrant workers has thrown a vital lifeline to the otherwise declining town.

“Hardly anyone lives from farming anymore, and there are very few jobs,” he said with a shrug. “If it wasn’t for the remittances, this place would be a ghost town.”

The remittance economy has changed the commercial life of the town, which once offered little more than work as a farm hand for about $5 a day.

Now it has two currency exchange houses and a branch of the Bancomer bank, as well as two travel agencies specializing in flights to the United States.

The USA Travel Express agency set up in March offers direct flights from the state capital Morelia and nearby Guadalajara to cities across California for those with visas, and a shuttle service to Tijuana for those without.

“About 70 to 80 percent of the population live in the United States,” so there is definitely a demand,” manager Ignacio Mendoza said simply.

A dependent economy indeed.

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The other day I saw the new product Coca Cola Blak at the super market. Now I see (http://www.coca-colablak.com/us/index.jsp) that this drink is a combination of Coke and Coffee. Have we really reached this point? I can not imagine a possibly worse combination that someone would intentionally put together to sell to the public. Have we really reached this level of insanity in the whole “energy drink” category?

Introducing Coca-Cola BlaK, a carbonated beverage that fuses Coke effevescence with coffee essence. Every sip is an experience… to eliven your senses and welcome new possibilities. So find your muse. Find higher ground. Find your Blak.

What the heck? Find your muse? Ak!

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